Artwork by Florence Helena McGillivray,  Fog Effect in Nova Scotia

Florence McGillivray
Fog Effect in Nova Scotia

oil on board
signed lower right; titled on the reverse
6.25 x 5 ins ( 15.9 x 12.7 cms )

Auction Estimate: $1,000.00$800.00 - $1,000.00

Price Realized $4,320.00
Sale date: December 14th 2021

Private Collection, Toronto

Share this item with your friends

Florence Helena McGillivray
(1864 - 1938) OSA ARCA

Born in Whitby, Ontario, the daughter of George McGillivray and Caroline Fothergill, one of a family of twelve, she studied at the Ontario School of Art under William Cruikshank and later at the studios of J.W.L Forster; L.R. O’Brien, and J.M. McGillivray Knowles in Toronto. After completing her studies, she taught art at the Ontario Ladies’ College, Whitby, and also acted as visiting critic at Pickering College, Ontario. Between 1881 and 1912, she made trips to various parts of Canada and the British West Indies. She was influenced by art nouveau, before its general effect on Canadian painting after 1912. In 1913, she went to Europe and studied under Lucien Simon and another teacher, Menard, in Paris. She also painted in Brittany and her works of this period show the influence of the French impressionists.

In 1913, her canvas “Contentment”, a painting of a French nun was shown at the Salon des Beaux Arts and she was elected president of the International Art Union the same year. She visited England and painted along the north east coast at Whitby and in the south along the coast of Cornwall at St. Ives, and visited Italy as well. Returning home, she lived in Toronto for a time. There in 1917 she visited Tom Thomson at this studio shack and gave him some helpful hints from her long experience with painting techniques. She moved to Ottawa and from there made trips to various locations in eastern Canada, including Cascades, on the Gatineau River, P.Q.; various points along Newfoundland’s northern coast (Twillingate, St. Anthony Harbour and elsewhere); and in Ontario. In the West Indies, she visited Trinidad, Jamaica and Bahama Islands. She painted in western Canada at Vancouver B.C, also in Alaska, and eastern United States.

She exhibited her work in Toronto at Malloney’s; in Ottawa at her Frank Street studio (1930), and later her work was on view at the Continental Galleries, Montreal (1957). She died in Toronto aged 74 and was buried in Oshawa. She is represented in the following collections: National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Hamilton Art Gallery, Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Queen’s Univ. Kingston), and in galleries at Kitchener, London, Ont., Windsor and elsewhere. A retrospective exhibition of her work was held under the sponsorship of the Whitby Arts Incorporated, in Whitby at “The Station” during the autumn of 1970. An excerpt from the catalogue folder is as follows, “In common with many more artists, she was reluctant to date her work. She travelled a great deal – her painting style varying almost as greatly as the places she depicted… All this made it very difficult to place her work in any kind of chronological order. She made a multitude of sketches everywhere she went, many of these being shown at this exhibition, but years frequently went by before a major work was based on one of the sketches. Thus we find for example in some of her Venetian Harbour scenes indicating either by date (rarely) or by style and technique that were not painted during her years in Europe but many years later.” The show was organized by Mrs. H.R. Schell of Whitby, a great niece of Florence McGillivray, who was assisted by an exhibition committee of eight other persons, including consultant Paul Bennett. The exhibition was officially opened by Justice George A. McGillivray, nephew of the artist. Member: O.S.A. (1917); Soc. Women Painters & Sculptors, NYC (1917); A.R.C.A. (1925); C.S.P.W.C.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume 4: Little - Myles", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1978